Quality and precision in every detail. (Images: Christian Plaum)
Quality and precision in every detail. (Images: Christian Plaum)


The Right Weigh!

MultiWeigh HD Wiegetechnik is a relatively young Wetzlar company with a steep success curve. Managing Director Frank Schmehl tells us how this came about and where the company is headed as he shows us round the company.

You could spend several days in the conference room at MultiWeigh without going hungry. Nuts and raisins, dried fruit and jelly babies are lined up next to coffee beans, cornflakes and bread dumplings in a glass cabinet. Even cheese, salad and Italian antipasti are weighed on MultiWeigh machines, says Managing Director Frank Schmehl, but these are naturally better kept in the fridge.

New standards in weighing technology

Frank Schmehl knows a lot about food. Not because he’s a particularly big eater, but because of his job. In 2003 he joined MultiWeigh, a young company founded by Heinz Debus only two years before. The business idea was as simple as it was revolutionary: a multihead weigher for the food industry with a systemic design that defined totally new standards of accuracy, speed, low maintenance and ultra high hygiene in weighing technology. “Without this unique selling proposition, the company may never have been founded. It would certainly not have been so successful,” says Frank Schmehl. When he started working for the company in 2003, MultiWeigh was just celebrating the sale of its 50th multihead weigher. Even then, the success curve was climbing off the chart. Today, there are more than 1,000 MultiWeigh machines on the market.

No wonder that the Wetzlar company expanded in terms of floorspace, too. The first production hall in Schanzenfeldstraße was soon too small, in the following years, MultiWeigh moved another two times. At the new site in Altenberger Straße, where the company has been since the beginning of 2014, there is enough room to continue growing. And for MultiWeigh, growth is synonymous with further development. “Our innovative systems are designed so that we can keep developing them and always stay one step ahead of the international competition,” stresses Schmehl. After all, customers expect top-precision and also top-speed weighing so that they can achieve maximum throughput.

Man-sized technology carriers that look like space probes

Frank Schmehl explains the technology behind this competitive success in the large production facility with the massive windows and skylights. Here, several combination and multihead weighers are being simultaneously assembled and inspected before being delivered to the customer. The products to be weighed are fed through a central shaft and from there outwards to the radially arranged pool and weigh hoppers. Sophisticated software instantly identifies which combination of partial weights comes closest to the target weight. Once the target weight is reached, the desired quantity is filled into the packaging assigned to it.

The radial structure and the stainless steel material of the multihead weighers make them vaguely reminiscent of space probes. “These man-sized technology carriers are not launched into space, they stay on the ground,” assures Schmehl. But the performance they are capable of could certainly be called unearthly. The current top model is the MultiWeigh 48 - 1.0 - M of the 2013 series, a multihead weigher that consists of 48 weighing lines and achieves 660 cycles a minute. Products are mixed and filled with a maximum loss of under 0.1 per cent. “That’s the benchmark we apply,” enthuses Frank Schmehl.

MultiWeigh’s innovative system expertise

Of course, this data is impressive, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. How much knowledge, experience and skill do you have to put into such a high-tech system to achieve this performance? “Compared with conventional linear systems, multihead scales have many advantages, which we have utilized and matured over the years,” says Schmehl. For instance, multihead weighers are far more precise than linear systems, irrespective of the particular product geometry. A decisive development lead is the software, without which such immense process speed and precision would be impossible. It almost goes without saying that it was developed at the MultiWeigh company as well as all the mechanical components.

And MultiWeigh’s innovative system expertise doesn’t stop there either. “One of the challenges in the food industry is to optimally integrate our multihead weighers into the highly efficient process chains and production lines,” says Frank Schmehl. That means, the products arrive unpacked, are weighed and immediately filled into tins, bags, soft packaging or folding boxes. In some cases, up to ten ingredients are weighed singly and combined to make a mixture with a specified filling quantity. As the products are weighed before packing, the high-precision multihead weighers and feed systems have to meet the highest standards of hygiene, too. To ensure this, MultiWeigh works with a wide variety of materials and applications. In the production facility there is a two-story installation that almost reaches the ceiling. In future, antipasti and other sticky products that pose particular hygiene problems will be weighed and packed here. “For products such as these we have developed a special nano anti-stick coating that can be cleaned with next to no residue.”

Top performance in all key areas

So the quality and reliability that customers expect of the food industry is obligatory for MultiWeigh, too. Anyone who operates in a business sector where precision, speed, low maintenance and highest hygiene standards are so important has to be a top performer in all key areas. Therefore, after-sales service is not something MultiWeigh does because it is obliged to, but something it takes special pride in. Remote servicing by remote data transfer is more often the rule than the exception, says Schmehl: “Our staff know that it’s a special customer service to be 24/7 on call as it requires not only a lot of skill but also a sense of responsibility.”

That is an advantage that customers of MultiWeigh all over the world greatly appreciate. And it is a quality that, paired with technological innovation strength, will keep the Wetzlar company a step ahead of the international competition in future, too.


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Managing director Frank Schmehl (right) explains the setup and the advantages of multihead weighers.
Managing director Frank Schmehl (right) explains the setup and the advantages of multihead weighers.